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Thrive Amidst Uncertainty With Three Operational Resiliency Strategies

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Thrive Amidst Uncertainty With Three Operational Resiliency Strategies

With pandemic-driven demand spikes and ensuing workplace safety requirements disrupting operations throughout the distribution and fulfillment (D&F) sector, companies have increasingly adopted strategies to enhance their resiliency. Regardless of their market segment, retailers that embrace these proven approaches can improve their abilities to survive — and thrive — in these demanding, uncertain times.

Protecting People and Places

The most critical priority is protecting essential workers by promoting a safer working environment. A variety of technologies are available to achieve this goal, including:

  • Contact-less building access via non-intrusive facial recognition and thermal scanning technologies that give workers hands-free access when reporting for work, while enabling operators to detect elevated body temperatures
  • Mobile device tracking of scanners, printers and voice-directed systems when integrated with smart software can support newly implemented safety protocols such as compliance with social distancing, cleaning and hygiene instructions, and device check-out/check-in management
  • Intelligent facility monitoring and analytics tools monitor a wide range of building data, from clean air recirculation, ventilation and filtration to frictionless access and occupancy monitoring

Driving Labor Productivity

The pre-pandemic challenges of finding, training and retaining D&F qualified labor worsened in 2020. Increased competition has driven wages higher, further threatening profitability. Operations successfully keeping pace with customer demands while simultaneously executing enhanced safety protocols are leveraging essential tools and technologies that drive productivity, such as:

  • Labor management software (LMS) to support a culture of productivity while giving managers insights to make informed labor allocations based on order volume, available resources and customer service level agreement (SLA) priorities
  • Voice and mobility devices, such as voice-directed systems, handheld scanners and printers, that deliver cleaning instructions, social distancing recommendations and device check-in/check-out tracking
  • Remote maintenance and training via augmented reality technologies, video-enablement tools and distance-learning modules which augment these critical functions to keep operations running at maximum capacity

Optimizing Operations

To meet customers’ increasing demands for contact-less, online fulfillment at higher volumes in shorter time frames, D&F companies are implementing advanced automation technologies and software. Among these include:

  • Robotics to perform repetitive tasks, such as picking, packing and palletizing at throughput and accuracy rates that exceed the limitations of manual labor. Solutions range from palletizing/depalletizing and articulated arm picking to autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for materials movement
  • Voice-enabled devices and analytics software which provide advanced data collection, automated documentation and analytics capabilities that allow DC managers to optimize labor productivity while reinforcing safety protocol compliance with chain of custody tracing
  • Micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) deployed in dark stores, warehouses, or retail storefronts for click-and-collect or direct-to-consumer e-fulfillment; these automated, higher-density, small-footprint solutions shorten the distance between traditional fulfillment centers and customers

Preparing for an Uncertain Future

Adapting to uncertainty requires retailers to utilize all available tools, technologies and fulfillment strategies to protect their workforce’s safety and well-being, while maintaining peak productivity. Learn more in this On The Move article about how Honeywell Intelligrated can help your D&F operations build a foundation for success and prepare for an uncertain future.

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